Faculty Publications


A Web-based environmental decision support system (WEDSS) for environmental planning and watershed management

Document Type



Multi-criteria evaluation, Watershed management, Web-based Spatial Decision Support Systems

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Geographical Systems





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Local governments often struggle to balance competing demands for residential, commercial and industrial development with imperatives to minimize environmental degradation. In order to effectively manage this development process on a sustainable basis, local planners and government agencies are increasingly seeking better tools and techniques. In this paper, we describe the development of a Web-Based Environmental Decision Support System (WEDSS), which helps to prioritize local watersheds in terms of environmental sensitivity using multiple criteria identified by planners and local government staff in the city of Columbia, and Boone County, Missouri. The development of the system involved three steps, the first was to establish the relevant environmental criteria and develop data layers for each criterion, then a spatial model was developed for analysis, and lastly a Web-based interface with analysis tools was developed using client-server technology. The WEDSS is an example of a way to run spatial models over the Web and represents a significant increase in capability over other WWW-based GIS applications that focus on database querying and map display. The WEDSS seeks to aid in the development of agreement regarding specific local areas deserving increased protection and the public policies to be pursued in minimizing the environmental impact of future development. The tool is also intended to assist ongoing public information and education efforts concerning watershed management and water quality issues for the City of Columbia, Missouri and adjacent developing areas within Boone County, Missouri. © Springer-Verlag 2004.

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DOI of published version